Matter As Metaphor, Part One: Physical Realities as Metaphors for Inner Realities … The Physical World Is Our Indirect Perception of Psychic and Spiritual Realities
If one is open to this possibility, the messages/truths are everywhere to be found. And the Universe and one’s experience of Reality becomes the grandest, wisest, truest, and most beneficent of teachers.
Physical Realities As Metaphors for Inner Realities
There is every reason to believe that he meant this literally. And, considering that in this context “guru” had the meaning of God and the cosmic divinity, the statement bespeaks much more than that as well.
Lawlor (1989b) tells us how the Australian Aborigines’ idea that the world is a metaphor or imprint for a truer inner reality is the essential element in their world view. As he put it:
All of existence is the projection outward of internal, subjective states into objective ideas, forms, and substances; the Sky is the “dreaming” of the Earth. All life and all energies emerge from the Earth, even those we consider subtle and celestial. There is a constant exchange between the Earth and its dreaming. The stars in the sky are the spirit energy of beings who were born from, and who have lived on, Earth, just as all men emerge into the world from the female womb. These ancestral beings return from the dreaming (the starry firmament) as radiated light and heat, which generate new life on Earth. The male sperm is analogous to this radiation as it fertilizes the female but, itself, was born from the female. Our minds and imaginations are always attempting to listen to the voice returning from the starry ancestors and we then reimage them. (p. 43, emphases mine)
In another place Lawlor (1992) phrases it: “The dreamtime creation myths of the Aborigines guided them to see the physical world as a language, as a metamorphosis of invisible spirit’s psychological and ethical realms” (p. 22).
Similarly, Laing (1988) tells us, “The whole world was once part of man’s psyche, but no longer” (p. 62).
This idea of the physical universe as reflecting and expressing our basic spiritual and psychological realities is a common perception and viewpoint of mystics of all traditions. In the West, the twelfth century mystic, Hildegard, wrote about this vision of reality. Of her, it’s been said, “Hildegard plainly uses physical laws as illustrations of spiritual truths” (Uhlein, 1991, p. 54). And further on: “Physical images are most useful to Hildegard in comprehending the things of the soul” (p. 54). This relates to the idea of physical reality as metaphor.
Like the Platonists, she understands the world to consist of four elements: fire and water, earth and wind. She employs these pairs archetypically, to describe psychological traits and to create complex analogies for spiritual development. (p. 54)